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This area is reserved for the tidbits I know hope will be of interest to my readers. Check back often for regular updates. 

 

Check out this article about the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomena, including a list of organizations which strongly oppose this sick trend, and have implemented various means of helping women who have been sexually victimized.

 

Were you raised by a narcissist? Chances are you were if you suffered any form of childhood abuse. The Little Red Survivor website is filled with excellent articles examining the many faces of narcissism.

 

It's been a long time coming---7 years to be exact---but finally email notifications for new BD posts is available. Sign up today and never again miss another post. You know you want to!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Kate Is Rising has an excellent Survivors Resources page which directs you to numerous websites dealing with issues of abuse, healing and recovery. Please bear in mind that the information on these pages may be triggering.

 

 

There's lots of good stuff at the Dissociation Blog Showcase, including a list of 180 blogs dealing with some aspect of this disorder. 

 

 

On the Overcoming Sexual Abuse site there's an article entitled, "It's Not About You Mom" which I could have written myself. I bet many of my readers could say the same!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thursday
Apr162015

Beauty in What Remains

Somewhere I ran across the phrase "beauty in what remains," and it got me thinking. How often I've rued the fact that the biggest portion of my life is spent in dealing with my traumatic childhood. You know, as much as I see the need for continued growth and healing, I don't want everything to be about what happened to me on Brightwood Street.

Is there any beauty in what remains? Or did I emerge from the season of childhood stripped of everything human and good and salvageable?

It's easy to slip into the habit of seeing evidences of my brokenness in just about everything; after all, every aspect, every nook and cranny of my being were affected by the ravages inflicted on me by my stepdad. But is that all I'm left with? Is this to be the way it goes for the rest of my life, these constant reminders of those childhood rapings?

The other day, sitting in my car at my granddaughters' school, the person parked next to me blasted their radio. A song from the year I left home, at the age of 15, pounded into my head. I rolled up my windows, but I could still hear and feel the music pulsing all around me.

That was a particularly difficult year for me. I reunited with the father whose absence from the last 8 years of my life had turned him into a stranger I wasn't sure I could trust. I knew the heart of the father whose love had enfolded me during the earlier years of childhood, but what about this man? Was his father heart still to be trusted, or had he changed over the years? I now lived with my father and two older brothers; for all I knew my new home was full of danger at every turn. I hadn't known during those earlier years as the apple of my father's eye that men were to be feared. Now, I knew it all too well.

Listening--involuntarily--to a song from that year kick-started a ripple effect of depression throughout my entire system. This is why I've cut myself off from most music, this is why. I was back in the year 1968, living with the family I'd longed for during the 8 years of my stepfather's reign of terror, but I didn't know them and I hardly trusted them. I had no life skills, nor did I have any clue that the stepfather wasn't the only predator I'd encounter.

That year I hid from my father a vicious rape from the friend of a friend, burying it as deep as I could so no one would guess the shame of that violation. When a man twice my age tried to rape me later that year, I also kept it to myself. Would telling my father have set something into motion? Something that might vindicate me? I couldn't risk the possibility that, like my mother, he might remain passive, unmoved by my sufferings. Better to keep my mouth shut, then.

All this came back to me as the golden oldie came to an end. I sat perfectly still as the song faded, a new thought filling me with cautious excitement. What if instead of allowing triggers to pulverize me, I go one step further? What if I give myself permission to consider how far I've come in the decades since those horrible events?

Yes, I thought, that was an especially horrible year for me. It should have been anything but. That should have been the best year of my life, for not only had I escaped my mother's home but I'd also been reunited with those I loved best. But look: I'm not anything at all like that scared, frozen teenager who couldn't even give herself permission to feel outrage at what had been done to her.

Look how far you've come, I told myself, with growing wonder. You've survived the worst pain, shame and violations imaginable...and you're still here!

I don't ever have to go through that year, or any year, again. Not even one solitary moment or event has to be repeated. It might be repeated in memory, but I will never again physically experience the weight of my stepfather's gut slapping against my pelvic bone, or the terror of the older man attacking me in the dead of night. The memories are painful, but they are only memories. I don't live there anymore, I am here now: here in the present I've  arrived at through sheer stubbornness, and a faith that lit my way, one step at a time.

The memories will come, for as I've said I'm surrounded by triggers everywhere I go. It can't be helped. Even if I never left home there would be triggers: glancing at the bathroom counter and remembering my stepdad plopping me down on the cold counter, naked and riven with shame. Lying in bed at night, half asleep, and suddenly not being able to remember where I am. Is it my old childhood bedroom? I lie in the fetal position, listening for footsteps approaching my door, all my senses on high alert . . .

No, triggers are everywhere, for it's the memories I hold that jump-starts them. That can't be helped. I'm not going to guilt trip myself for experiencing them when they surface. I'm not wallowing in them though, that's the main thing. They may surface, but I can choose to not drag out the memories from the need to wallow in self-pity.

Beauty in what remains? Imagine a child's mind as a beautiful stained glass window, made up of gorgeous colors, reflecting the sun and illuminating all around her. If someone comes along and smashes that beautiful window, the remaining shards and slivers of color would retain their original beauty, but there would no longer be a substantial whole through which the child views the world, and interacts with it.

My mind has been shattered; from time to time I discover remaining shards shining their mute beauty, and I'm infused with hope. Even if that hope lessens, it gets me through the next patch of rough spots until I can once more catch my breath, take it easy, and revel in the knowledge that I have, once again, moved forward. Yes, I must look backwards in order to work through my past, but I can begin to teach myself to use my triggers as a measuring stick of my growth, rather than as sticks with which to beat myself up for having been such a stupid, shameful victim.

I like the idea of beauty in what remains. I like the idea that there is even something of the original me remaining!

 

 

 

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Reader Comments (1)

Through your writing I feel as if I know, to some small degree, the original you much as I came to know the various Keepers although that was a different scale since I lived with them. I am glad you know who you are and can see and feel those within, thogh shattered and scattered within, over time you have come back together to see and know each other and that is a wonderful thing and it also sets forth the fact that you are still here, you are and were undefeatable and continue to grow and move on despite the horrors each of you endured. That is a wonderful thing to realize after knowing you have survived, that you and within you are survivors who are indeed worthy of all of God's blessings and our respect.

April 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJM

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